Students took to the Student Government Senate chamber Tuesday night to demand the resignation of the Student Body President from his office after emails were released last week between him and a President Donald Trump reelection campaign official.
At the Student Senate meeting, Inspire Party Senator Ben Lima announced a resolution for Murphy’s impeachment during public comment.
Students on both sides of the political aisle spoke for and against Murphy’s resignation.
The emails released showed campaign official Caroline Wren asking Student Body President Michael Murphy to continue a conversation they had on July 4 to bring Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle to speak at UF.
Murphy agreed to further coordinate with her over the phone. Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle spoke at UF on Oct. 10. They were paid $50,000 to speak from student activity fees.
Anthony Rojas, a 24-year-old UF political science student who created a Facebook event demanding Murphy’s resignation, spoke first when the floor opened for public comment.
“I don’t care how nice the Fourth of July was,” Rojas said. “It must’ve been one hell of a barbecue to do favors for the national financial consultant for the president.”
Gator Party leader Gabriela Hernandez demanded more accountability and transparency in SG but did not mention Murphy’s resignation.
“It is extremely unjust that our SG leadership is engaging in actions that violate codes,” Hernandez said during the meeting.
Hernandez said she and Senate President Emily Dunson, who is also affiliated with Gator Party, discussed how they’d ensure actions like Murphy’s wouldn’t occur again.
Stephanie Beltran, who was affiliated with Impact Party in the past, also spoke out against Murphy’s actions, and said he wasn’t leading with the students’ interests in mind.
“Michael intended to use his position to bring Donald Trump Jr. to campus, but didn’t consider the impact on the students,” Beltran said. “We must hold people accountable when certain boundaries are overstepped.”
Jasmin Du Bois, a UF political science junior, listed other ways in which $50,000 could be used: 1,219 people could receive flu vaccines, 56 students’ healthcare plans could be covered or 9,969 hungry children in Alachua County could be fed.
While many demanded action against Murphy, others came ready to defend him.
Jared Rossi, a former Accent Speakers Bureau staffer, called out partisan hits against Murphy throughout the meeting, and said that Accent brings speakers from both sides of the aisle.
“I know that there are those in the minority party hell-bent on stuffing Ms. Wren’s words into Michael Murphy’s mouth,” Rossi said.
Dunson said she disagreed with Murphy’s actions and supported senators who felt disenfranchised by him.
“It truly breaks my heart to see… students and senators feel that they cannot trust our body of Student Government,” Dunson said.